Let's talk about how much I love my job. Ready?
I work for the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors...or something like that. I'm not positive what the exact name is, but sometimes I get emails from my coworkers, and they are all like, "Here at the FMCFWAMA...." and I want to be like, really? Is that really helping anything? Whatever. I work at the Writing Center on campus. Yay.
I knew that I wanted this job the moment I heard about it, but I had no idea what it would entail. I figured I would go sit in the Center for a few hours a week, talk about punctuation and word choice, get a cute little paycheck every so often and appease my dad's insistence that I work. Since I a.) took all of the AP English classes [and dual-enrolled at Kalamazoo College for more writing experience] in high school, b.] tested out of Grand Valley's writing requirements, and c.] was accepted into the Honors College, thereby negating my writing requirement in the FIRST place, I never went through the Writing 150 program at Grand Valley, so I never had any interaction with consultants before I was hired. I had no idea that as a consultant, I would be working side by side with professors to help students, that I would facillitate labs and small groups, that I would have the opportunity to have weekly appointments with international students or students with disabilities to improve their writing. I had no idea that I would get to discuss the purpose of writing with so many different people, or that I would get to read so many new and interesting papers about things that I know nothing about. I had no idea how much I would learn, not just about writing, but about people and life and things like African Literature or exotic fish breeding or psychology. I was totally unprepared for what I was about to do.
Seriously, the opportunities that I have as a consultant are incredible. On Monday I got to sit down with a Chinese woman in her mid-30s, I would say, who came to America to learn how to teach students of a secondary language. I got to talk to her about her literacy autobiography, her story, her past, her experiences with language, and it was amazing. Her view on education [and life, as far as I could tell] were extraordinary and new and different, and the experience itself was such a departure from anything I ever had at a different job. I felt honored just to be able to talk to this woman and for her to value my opinion of her work.
The majority of students that I interact with are freshman and, while I am not a teacher by any stretch of the imagination, it is the most rewarding experience to train a group so that they can carry an intelligent, constructive discussion of a peer's work. I sat with a group today, and they ignored the topical issues that most students get bogged down with, and instead fired off suggestions to help clarify the theme or clean up the organization or narrow down the focus. It was the first time that we had all met, but they were like one of those schools of fish that dart in the exact same direction at the exact same time. They flowed and I was honestly so proud. It was just fun for me.
And I mean, obviously, it's still a job. And obviously, there are some students that I want to slap sometimes [like the girl who wrote about how Playboy was a good thing for American women, because it stopped sexual taboos and allowed women to have complete control over their bodies. I. Am. Serious.] and some papers that are so awful that I don't know what to do with them. I have worked with one group in particular that made me want to gauge my eyeballs out with a spoon every Wednesday morning at 8:00 am, but despite these things, I love my job, because this is the first time that I am working with something that I care about. This is the first time that I can take pride in the establishment that hired me, that I can enjoy a moment of happiness when I tell people that I am a Writing Consultant. I get paid to work with professors and talk about one of my greatest passions. I mean, overall, I love it.
Plus I get to enjoy the irony of the fact that I spent six hours working today, talking to students about organization and the value and importance of the written word, then went home, crashed in my bed for a quick nap before my small group, and woke up with the realization that I have a paper due tomorrow that I have not started. Or read the required text. Or done any of my other homework that is due tomorrow.
I mean, come on -- gotta stay humble somehow, right?